The History of the Veggie Burger

In 2019, the plant-based, lab-grown burger is king. This is how the meatless marvel rose to fame. 🍔🥦

Meet the Veggie Burger

This burger is not made with real meat. Once upon a time, veggie burgers meant veggies on top of a hamburger. In 1982, Gregory Sams launched a new kind of burger — the Vegeburger. By 1992, Gardenburger had become a commercial success. A year later, the Boca Burger hit the shelves. Between the original dry mix and the frozen VegeBurger that made its debut in 1984 through a licensing agreement, approximately seven million are eaten every year. That’s one every four seconds, 24 hours a day. By the time Sams sold Realeat in 1988, the total went up to 13 million. Now, companies like Impossible Foods / Beyond Meat are out to make the most realistic meatless meat — with the main protein source being pea protein / soy protein. Several fast food chains are testing out menu items featuring meat substitutes to attract consumers who want to eat less meat for health environmental moral reasons.

By 1985 (the VegeBurger was flying off the shelves at this point), Portland, Oregon, restaurant owner Paul Wenner founded Gardenburger, Inc. and released its first vegetable-based burger commercially by 1992. The following year, Boca Burger Inc. was founded. By 2002 Boca, which was acquired by Kraft Foods, was bringing in more than 70 million dollars annually. The first vegan meat commercial was from Carl’s Jr — during the Super Bowl. Beyond Meat became the first plant-based meat company to go public in May 2019. Impossible Foods’ signature blood-red color protein soy leghemoglobin, or “heme,” was recently approved by the FDA — allowing the food items to be sold in grocery stores. Globally, beef is responsible for 41% of livestock greenhouse gas emissions, and livestock accounts for 14.5% of total global emissions according to FAO. A veggie burger is a burger patty that does not contain meat or any such kind of meat. These burgers may be made from ingredients like beans, especially soybeans and tofu, nuts, grains, seeds or fungi such as mushrooms or mycoprotein.